Body Care Inspired by the Beauty & Seasons of New England

Immense gratitude for the Danielle Knerr Spa Leadership Award by JM Pankey & Partners

Lisa Kennally

Posted on December 31 2020

I've had moments since the beginning of my career that have been both rewarding and amazing and challenging too, of course. This week, I was given the honor of the 2020 SpaHive, Danielle Knerr Spa Leadership Award from Julie Pankey and her JMPankey & Partners Board. I am very grateful and overwhelmed and add shocked too. I had the chance to get to know Danielle Knerr throughout the years, as I was one of her vendors when she was the Spa Director at The Spa at Norwich Inn. She was a bright light and loved and respected by so many. Whenever we'd meet, she was kind, sincere, professional and we'd always chat about our families and upcoming events. To be given this award in her name, is a special honor that I will cherish forever. 

Thank you to Julie Pankey and all the members of the board and a special congratulations to all of this year's nominees. Our spa industry supports one another when times are both great and not so great (such as the shutdowns experienced this year). We all rise when we support one another no matter the industry or situation. 

With love and appreciation, 

Lisa Kennally

To learn more about the award, Julie Pankey and Danielle Knerr, read the below from the


NORWICH – Julie Pankey and Danielle Knerr were the closest of friends and each other’s “biggest fans”.

When Knerr, the former director at the Spa at Norwich Inn, died of cancer a few years ago, Pankey thought it was important to create an award honoring the impact Knerr had on so many people.

“Thousands walk through the door at the Spa at Norwich Inn every year,” Pankey said. “She personally touched the lives of so many people that walked through the doors.” In her memory, the Danielle Knerr Spa Leadership Award was established. Pankey, the founder of JMPankey Partners, a spa consulting firm, started giving the award at yearly SpaHive events. SpaHive events are gatherings where professionals in the spa industry socialize and learn about new products and techniques.

The award is given to a spa industry professional that is a leader and shows humility, compassion, empathy and discipline.

Pankey first met Knerr when they worked at the Spa at Norwich Inn in the late 1990s. Pankey worked in the spa; Knerr was a housekeeper.

“We became friends because I often came in really early, or left really late,” Pankey, who grew up in Norwich, said. “She was either starting or ending her overnight shift.”

Even when Pankey eventually took another job, Knerr and Pankey remained close friends until Knerr’s death. Knerr meant to attend Pankey’s first SpaHive in 2017, but she was too sick to attend. However, Knerr left her friend a message the night before.

“She was just really sad that she was going to miss this inaugural event, and wished me the [best],” she said. The first Knerr Spa Leadership Award was given in 2018 to another Norwich native, Jennifer Boisclair, the spa director at the Norwich Spa at Foxwoods. She hadn’t known Knerr directly, but said she was important to the Spa industry.

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